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May 15, 2007 > Mother's Day in a special way

Mother's Day in a special way

By Vidya Pradhan

Most of us send a card on Mother's Day, or maybe flowers. If we can, we take our mother out to dinner. Fremont salon owner Mojdeh Froozandeh however, has crafted a special tribute to a class of mothers she believes deserve a little additional pampering.

When Mojdeh became a mother a few years ago, she became extremely protective of this new little person, worrying out of proportion about every little bump and bruise. "How do mothers cope when their children are really sick?" she wondered.

Out of appreciation for a mother's nurturing instincts came the idea of providing free salon treatments to mothers of seriously ill children; women who had no time to think about themselves. Ma Belle Salon's staff of independent contractors welcomed Mojdeh's concept and readily agreed to donate their time and talents.

Nina Purdy, whose daughter Naomi is afflicted with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, was one of the mothers at the salon last Monday, May 7. Her family's nightmare began last year when, on a trip to the emergency room, doctors discovered Naomi's hemoglobin count was too low. Since then, Nina and Naomi have made several trips to Stanford from their home in Modesto. During the initial six months following a diagnosis, "I practically lived at the hospital," says Nina.

On a trip to Stanford for her daughter's chemotherapy, Nina's social worker informed her of Mojdeh's event at Ma Belle Salon. Nina and Naomi decided to make the trip last Monday to Fremont's Mission District area, across from Ohlone College. and they are thrilled they did.

While Nina settled down for a day of pampering, the other stylists at the salon played with Naomi and helped her draw and color pictures. Then both mother and daughter had their nails painted to cap a perfect day of relaxation, forgetting for a moment about the ever present shadow of Naomi's illness.

Monday's gathering was the second of what Mojdeh plans to do annually. "This is the only thing that I can do to show my support for these brave mothers," she says. "For one day, they can get out of the drama of their daily lives and come and be pampered here."

Last year, she contacted Lucille Packard Children's Hospital in Stanford and arranged for her event to be publicized to the mothers whose children are treated there. This year she broadened her scope to include Oakland Children's Hospital. Her stylists, who are independent contractors, also volunteer their time. Each stylist gives their complete attention to only one client that day. The mothers get a chair massage, make-up and any other beauty treatments desired. They are welcome to spend the entire day at the salon during which a light lunch is also served.

Julie Maroun's daughter Jocelyn was also diagnosed with leukemia last year. "You tend to lose yourself when you're fighting for your child," says Julie. She was greeted warmly by Mojdeh and her stylists and treated to several beauty treatments throughout the day. "As I was being pampered, I could hear other moms talking about their experiences that were so similar to what my family was going through. It was comforting." Maroun said it was hard to leave her daughter for awhile, especially to be pampered, but "it was an amazing experience."

"I would like to expand this offering to include other hospitals and other illnesses," says Mojdeh. She plans to call hospitals in other cities in the Bay Area and try to get as many moms as possible. This is her chance to say, "Happy Mother's Day!" in a wonderfully meaningful way.

Ma Belle Hair Salon
43625, Mission Boulevard.
Near Ohlone College.
(510) 656-3800

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